Iíve been called lucky my entire life, and for good reason: Iíve bought, created, operated, and sold a handful of very successful businesses, from concession stands on the New Jersey Boardwalk to the worldís largest online retailer for car care products. My response to that comment is always the same: The harder I work, the luckier I am. That leads me to my latest venture in an industry Iím all too familiar with Ė cleaning chemicals.
Iíve been manufacturing, distributing, and selling world-class surface-care enhancement products since the 80s. It all started in the back room of a chain of stores I owned in South Florida called The Driverís Seat. These stores specialized in high-quality automotive accessories, the stuff you wonít find at corporate-owned stores with thousands of locations. Iíve always taken pride in catering to people that want the best, whether itís a chrome brush guard or custom-embroidered floor mats that feel like the posh carpet in a Rolls-Royce. That lead me to develop my own line of car care chemicals.
The Driverís Seat did well by itself, but what really took off was the e-commerce division that stemmed from a mail-order catalog that I ran out of the back of the store. At this point in the late 90ís e-commerce was still in its infancy (Amazon barely sold books back then, and cutting-edge communication was the pager/beeper!). Before I knew it, the online store was creating more revenue than the actual storefront itself. I made one of the best decisions of my life by selling The Driverís Seat (all 6 locations) and focused entirely on internet sales. The cornerstone of my e-commerce operation was my line of premium car care chemicals. With my new venture came a new name for my online store: Autogeek.net.
In the last 20 years Iíve owned some of the worldís most renowned lines of premium car care including Wolfgang, Pinnacle Natural Brilliance, Pinnacle Black Label, Marine 31, and BLACKFIRE. I worked with the best chemists to develop cutting-edge cleaners, polishes, and waxes. Cost was of no concern! Each formula had to be the best. After developing the Autogeek operation from a handful of employees in a 400 square foot warehouse to an industry giant with 50 employees housed in a 45,000 square foot custom-built warehouse, I sold the business to Vision Investments but I kept the real estate. My next venture is the one Iíve had the most fun developing Ė McKeeís 37 Waxes, Compounds, Polishes.
The goal with McKeeís 37 was to develop a premium line of car care chemicals at a not-so-premium price. I took my years of knowledge and painstakingly developed the line of car care chemicals that Iím very proud of. But I canít take all the credit! I have the best team an entrepreneur could ask for. After all, youíre only a strong as your weakest link, and by attracting passionate people with unlimited potential, and compensating them correctly, youíre sure to succeed. If Iím a yoke that canít keep the omelet together what good is the yolk! I may be a visionary, but it wouldnít be successful if I canít share my ideas with my team. In 2017 Wayne Carini, long-friend and host of Chasing Classic Cars on Motortrend, became a partner in the company.
McKeeís 37 has been a blast. In 2018 we expanded by developing a cutting-edge line of marine and RV specific cleaners, compounds, and polishes. Everything was going so well that I bought a lot in Lake Lure North Carolina to spend time with my wife in the mountains in our Newmar London Aire. The free time I had after selling Autogeek made me realize the household industry needed to be addressed. As a visionary I have this uncontrollable desire to develop better quality products. Carolina Home & Patio solves he same issues the automotive/marine/RV lines that I developed.
From a business standpoint it all made sense. I have the bottles. I have the chemists. I have the labs. I have the team. And most important of them all Ė I have the time! Carolina Home & Patio is a fantastic line of products that solves any cleaning issue you have in or around your house. My team and I took our 30 plus years of combined experience to develop a line of cleaners that, dare I say, make it fun to clean your house. Unlike most cleaners found at the grocery store, my products WORK! You wonít be disappointed.